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Dealing with Construction Permits in

Trinidad and Tobago

Below is a detailed summary of the procedures, time and costs to build a warehouse in Trinidad and Tobago. This includes obtaining necessary licenses and permits, completing required notifications and inspections and obtaining utility connections.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016. Read the methodology.

Compare Trinidad and Tobago to 189 other economies.

  • Measure of efficiency
    No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
    1

    Obtain cadastral sheet

    Agency: Land and Surveys Division of the Ministry of Housing, Land and Marine Resources

    The Land and Surveys Division of the Ministry of Housing, Land and Marine Resources provides vertical and horizontal survey control services to land surveyors, engineers and to the general public on request. This service provides professionals with the coordinates required to perform cadastral, geodetic and topographical surveys, and to produce location maps.
    It should be noted that the cadastral sheet is not always ideal as a location map, but it is a base map which various agencies use for plotting and cross-referencing of projects. A copy of the relevant cadastral sheet is therefore required in all submissions.
    1 day no charge
    2

    Request outline planning permission

    Agency: Town and Country Planning Division of the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development

    Upon issuing of the cadastral sheet, BuildCo. must outline planning permission should be obtained prior to applying for full planning permission. This permission informs an applicant whether or not the type of development proposed is consistent with the existing land use policy and provides overall development standards applicable to the site. Submission of an outline application reduces the risk of unnecessary expense in the preparation of plans and technical drawings for a development that may not be approved.

    To obtain outline planning permission, BuildCo must submit the following documents to the regional office responsible for the area concerned:

    • Two copies of the completed “outline application form” (TCP/3). An Outline application form (TCP/3) can be obtained ‘online’ or from the nearest regional office
    • Two copies of a location sketch with sufficient information for the site to be clearly and positively identified in the field.. Information such as the plot number, postal address, number of the nearest light pole or mile mark, prominent landmark, culvert, and other similar information, are useful on location sketches
    • A copy of the cadastral sheet indicating the sheet reference and the area proposed for development
    • A copy of the deed or oldest and latest tenancy receipts, and survey plan relating to the parcel of land to be developed

    While detailed plans and drawings are not required at this stage, a conceptual plan of the proposed development may be provided.

    Upon submission, the application is appointed a reference number and an acknowledgement slip is issued. This reference number is plotted on the Division’s cadastral and layout sheets and all relevant cross references are filed with the application. The Development Control Inspector from the Town and Country Planning Division visits the site to collect information pertaining to the application. An evaluation and report are then submitted with the application for consideration. A notice of grant or refusal of outline planning permission is prepared and sent by mail to the applicant. An application is processed within a 2-month period.

    This cannot be done simultaneously with the previous procedure, given the nee to count with all the previous clearances.
    60 days no charge
    * 3

    Receive inspection and obtain outline planning permission

    Agency: Town and Country Planning Division of the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development

    In order to receive the planning permit, BuildCo. will receive an inspection. This inspection can be obtained when applying for the previous procedure.
    1 day no charge
    4

    Obtain approval of sewerage and water project from the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA)

    Agency: Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA)

    The New Services Department administers the approval of water and wastewater services to new buildings and developments. This makes this procedure a non-simultaneous one with the previous one.
    35 days TTD 650
    * 5

    Receive inspection from the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) and receive an estimate for connection costs

    Agency: Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA)

    The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) inspects the site to prepare an estimate of the connection costs. Only after the permission has been granted one can apply for this procedure. As a result, this procedure cannot be simultaneous.
    1 day no charge
    * 6

    Obtain approval from the Fire Department

    Agency: Fire Department

    At the same time, BuildCo. can request the Fire Department approval request at the same time as the Water and Sewerage one.
    30 days no charge
    7

    Obtain full planning permission

    Agency: Town and Country Planning Division of the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development

    Full planning permission must be obtained from the Town and Country Planning Division of the Ministry of Planning and Development before any development of land is physically undertaken on the site.

    For full planning permission, applicants are required to submit the following documents to the regional office responsible for the area concerned:

    • Four copies of the completed application form for permission to develop land (TCP/1)
    • Four copies of a location sketch with sufficient information for the site to be clearly and positively identified in the field. Information such as the plot number, postal address, number of the nearest light pole, mark of the nearest mile post, prominent landmark, culvert and other similar information, are useful on location sketches.
    • Four copies of all plans and drawings that describe the proposed development (as applicable). All drawings are to be drawn at an appropriate scale for legibility and easy handling.
    • Location and site plan showing the north sign.
    • Copy of deed and survey plan for the site proposed for development.
    • Floor plans and foundation plans
    • Elevations and sections
    • Structural drawings
    • Isometric drawings (for sewered buildings)
    • Electrical drawings (for nonresidential buildings)
    • Two copies of the completed application form for the utilization of land (LHA-2), which should be forwarded to the local authority. These forms can be obtained from the municipal corporation responsible for the area concerned.

    Upon submission, the application is appointed a reference number and an acknowledgement slip is issued. This reference number is plotted on the Division’s cadastral and layout sheets and all relevant cross references are filed with the application. The Development Control Inspector from the Town and Country Planning Division visits the site to collect information pertaining to the application. An evaluation and report are then submitted with the application for consideration. The applicant is usually notified by mail within a 2-month period whether full planning permission has been granted.

    Full planning permission may be granted unconditionally, or may be subject to specified conditions. Where planning permission is subject to conditions or refused, the reasons for the decision taken are included in a Notice of Determination. Failure to provide proper information will result in the application being returned to the applicant undetermined.

    It is possible for several applications for different types of development to be submitted for one property and get approved. Each of these planning permissions remains valid, unless otherwise specified, and in principle a developer may choose the one(s) they intend to implement.

    The statutory period to respond to applicants according to the TCP Act is 2 months. This deadline is not usually observed.

    As a result, this procedure cannot be simultaneous.

    90 days no charge
    8

    Receive excavation inspection from the Regional Corporation

    Agency: Regional Corporation

    Upon full planning permission, BuildCo. receives an excavation inspection.
    1 day no charge
    9

    Receive foundation inspection from the Regional Corporation

    Agency: Regional Corporation

    After the excavation foundations has been conducted, BuildCo. receives a foundations inspection.
    1 day no charge
    10

    Receive structural inspection from the Regional Corporation

    Agency: Regional Corporation

    Once the foundations inspection has taken place, BuildCo. receives an structural inspection.
    1 day no charge
    11

    Notify Regional Corporation of the completion of construction

    Agency: Regional Corporation

    Once BuildCo. completes the construction of the warehouse, it may be inspected. BuildCo notifies the Regional Corporation.
    1 day no charge
    12

    Receive final inspection from the Regional Corporation

    Agency: Regional Corporation

    The Regional Corporation inspects the warehouse to verify whether it was completed according to the specifications.
    1 day no charge
    13

    Receive inspection and final approval from the Fire Department

    Agency: Fire Department

    The Fire Department inspection can only be done after the Regional Corporation has conducted its revision.
    1 day TTD 200
    14

    Obtain water and sewage connection

    Agency: Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA)

    For the drawings' submission the company would need a licensed plumber to submit the documents. The plumber does not have any other specific tasks other than submitting the plans. Often times, the drawings are not even done by the plumber. For the case study, BuildCo. staffs a plumber among its employees.
    60 days TTD 2,927
    * 15

    Obtain building completion certificate

    Agency: Regional Corporation

    This is an independent procedure from the water and sewage application. The Regional Corporation will send the completion certificate to BuildCo. after the inspection.
    14 days TTD 1,000
    16

    Obtain water and sewage completion certificate

    Agency: Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA)

    The final procedure, obtaining water and sewage connection. Cannot be processed without the completion certificate. As a result, it cannot be simultaneous with the previous procedure.
    1 day no charge

    * Takes place simultaneously with previous procedure.

  • Measure of quality
    Answer Score
    Building quality control index (0-15) 7.0
    Quality of building regulations index (0-2) 0.0
    How accessible are building laws and regulations in your economy? (0-1) They must be purchased; Not easily accessible. 0.0
    Which requirements for obtaining a building permit are clearly specified in the building regulations or on any accessible website, brochure or pamphlet? (0-1) List of required documents. 0.0
    Quality control before construction index (0-1) 1.0
    Which third-party entities are required by law to verify that the building plans are in compliance with existing building regulations? (0-1) Licensed engineer. 1.0
    Quality control during construction index (0-3) 1.0
    What types of inspections (if any) are required by law to be carried out during construction? (0-2) Inspections at various phases. 1.0
    Do legally mandated inspections occur in practice during construction? (0-1) Mandatory inspections are not always done in practice during construction; Mandatory inspections are done most of the time during construction. 0.0
    Quality control after construction index (0-3) 3.0
    Is there a final inspection required by law to verify that the building was built in accordance with the approved plans and regulations? (0-2) Yes, final inspection is done by government agency. 2.0
    Do legally mandated final inspections occur in practice? (0-1) Final inspection always occurs in practice. 1.0
    Liability and insurance regimes index (0-2) 0.0
    Which parties (if any) are held liable by law for structural flaws or problems in the building once it is in use (Latent Defect Liability or Decennial Liability)? (0-1)  No party is held liable under the law. 0.0
    Which parties (if any) are required by law to obtain an insurance policy to cover possible structural flaws or problems in the building once it is in use (Latent Defect Liability Insurance or Decennial Insurance)? (0-1) No party is required by law to obtain insurance . 0.0
    Professional certifications index (0-4) 2.0
    What are the qualification requirements for the professional responsible for verifying that the architectural plans or drawings are in compliance with existing building regulations? (0-2) Minimum number of years of experience; University degree in architecture or engineering; Being a registered architect or engineer. 2.0
    What are the qualification requirements for the professional who supervises the construction on the ground? (0-2) There are no specific requirements. 0.0